When Jane’s best friend Fiona unexpectedly ends her life, Jane’s entire world view is rocked. Unable to steer her own ship, Jane entangles herself in Fiona’s old life, working as a childminder for her widow Gemma, and their son Bailey.
Walker is able to capture Jane’s complete loss on screen, and through the use of occasional flashback, we’re able to see why her bond with Fiona was so strong. Despite Fiona having very minimal screen time, her presence, or lack of, is clear to see in every scene. As Jane develops her relationships with Gemma and Bailey, their tug of war over who knew Fiona more, who feels the loss stronger, is the unwritten subtext in every conversation.
Jeanette Maus is the anchor of the film as Jane. Her utter loss of her person is clear to see on her face, and we can see despite her best efforts, her life raft is now left out to sea without her ship steering her. Grief is a funny thing, and Maus’ performance along with Walker’s script capture it so elegantly. When you have a hole in your life, a piece of you ripped out, the instinctive desire is to fill it, be it with cigarette, alcohol, purpose or sex. No-one comes out of My Fiona looking like a perfect person, but grief, and especially bereavement via suicide, create broken people. My Fiona focusses on just a handful of those people, and their attempts to glue themselves back together.
The film was a pleasure to watch, and whilst I have some issues with the route the film tries to take regarding Fiona’s reasons for ending her life, it ultimately doesn’t take a stand either way on the issue of suicide and depression, instead allowing Jane, Gemma and Bailey’s slow roads to healing to be our final takeaway.
My Fiona was meant to be part of the BFIFlare Film Festival. The festival is currently running online through BFIPlayer and My Fiona may appear on there later. In the meantime, you can find out more about attending the festival virtually and viewing lots of similar films, via the details below
The new BFI Flare at Home programme will be available to be enjoyed in the safety of homes around the UK via BFI Player, the BFI’s VOD service. A special offer for BFI Player’s subscription service will be offered to audiences who had booked for BFI Flare, with general audiences invited to sign up for a free two week trial of BFI Player as well as existing BFI Player subscribers to take advantage of the enhanced BFI Flare collection. Most content will be available as part of the SVOD collection, with some additional titles available for rental/TVOD.
Through its social media channels, BFI Flare will also be hosting live Q&A’s with filmmakers, offering daily curated programmer recommendations of work from the BFI Player Flare collections, and will be bringing the party to living rooms around the UK with a curated closing night DJ set made available as a Spotify playlist, bringing the BFI Flare party vibe to house parties everywhere.